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      Abbas Accuses Israel of 'Ethnic Cleansing' in Jerusalem

      PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas uses a ‘Nakba Day’ speech to accuse Israel of carrying out ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 5/16/2012, 4:13 AM

      Mahmoud Abbas
      Mahmoud Abbas
      Reuters

      Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas used a ‘Nakba Day’ speech on Tuesday to accuse Israel of carrying out ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem.

      Nakba Day, or the day of catastrophe, is what the Arabs call the English date of May 15, when the State of Israel was re-established with a declaration of independence in 1948.

      “For decades, Israel has been building settlements in Jerusalem and around it,” Abbas said in a televised speech, according to a report on Israel’s Channel 2 News. “This is done while there is a massive destruction of houses in the city and their original inhabitants are being uprooted on a daily basis.”

      Abbas also claimed that Israel intentionally harms the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, saying, “The Al-Aqsa Mosque is being targeted by the occupation and together with the extremists has become the main target. They are trying to make Muslims and Christians flee the city by imposing heavy taxes, a policy which can only be called ethnic cleansing.”

      The PA Chairman also said that “the continued Israeli occupation of Jerusalem is the main factor which fans the tension and wars in the region and the world,” and vowed to “turn every grain and stone to put a complete stop to the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem - the capital of Palestine. As long as the occupation continues there will be no peace.”

      He also clarified that “no peace agreement with Israel will be signed without it recognizing an independent Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem. Until then, the Israelis will not be able to live peacefully, but will continue to deal with the consequences of their existence in the heart of a hostile environment.”

      Abbas warned that if what he said in his speech does not occur exactly the way he noted, “this will lead to the inevitable formation of a bi-national state. Such an alternative is unacceptable to the Israelis, and we are not interested in it either.”

      His comments came one day after Israel signed an agreement with PA prisoners to end their hunger strike, which has been gaining international sympathy.

      The Prime Minister's Office said on Monday that the deal that ended the hunger strike was a goodwill gesture to Abbas.

      Part of the deal was the transfer of 100 bodies of PA Arab terrorists currently buried in Israel. The Netanyahu administration instructed security officials to prepare to transfer the bodies to the PA in another apparent gesture of conciliation to Abbas.

      Meanwhile on Tuesday, at least four Israeli security personnel were hurt in Nakba Day clashes with PA Arabs in Judea and Samaria.

      Hundreds of PA residents threw stones and firebombs outside the Ofer Prison adjacent to the Beitunya crossing. The IDF and Israel Police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and other crowd dispersal means.